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Windows 10 Preview Builds May Be Getting Faster Release Cycle

Microsoft may be considering a change to its Windows 10 preview release schedule that could result in multiple new builds each month.

That information comes from a blog post Monday by Gabriel Aul, general manager for the data and fundamentals team for Microsoft's Operating System Group. He's also the main communicator about Windows 10 preview details and build releases, typically via his Twitter feed.

Normally, Microsoft would release a new build of the Windows 10 preview during Patch Tuesday, which is the second Tuesday of every month. However, that may or may not happen with this month's Patch Tuesday (March 10). Aul noted in his blog that the next build of the Windows 10 preview is overdue: Microsoft previously described a 30-day release goal, but it's now been 40 days since the last release.

Aul didn't explain the delay, but instead described Microsoft's release process more generally, with its various "rings" (see diagram).

[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft's build release process. (Source: March 9 Windows blog.)

The internal "Canary" ring at Microsoft gets the earliest look. Later, the build gets sent to Operating System Group internal testers. After that point, the build gets released to public Windows Insider program testers. Fast-ring Windows Insiders testers get releases with more bugs, but they also get access to the build earlier than the Slow-ring testers. Aul explained back in January that most Windows Insider testers (about 90 percent) have opted for the slower release schedule.

Aul suggested that Microsoft may adopt a new release cycle that could be less predictable than releasing the next Windows 10 preview build every 30 days. Instead, Microsoft's development team possibly could start to release multiple builds of the preview each month.

It's possible that there will be two Windows 10 preview builds released in March, Aul suggested -- or not. The development team doesn't want to be tied down on the point. He said that the multiple-build release idea is more at the aspirational level at this point, though.

Microsoft has even considered what Aul called a "ludicrous" release speed for its Windows 10 builds. So far, though, Microsoft has been more conservative and aimed at releasing more stable builds of Windows 10, he claimed.

Of course, Windows Insider program testers are at the mercy of Microsoft's release cycles, anyway. Windows 10 builds get pushed down automatically through the Windows Update service to Windows Insider testers. That's a relatively new approach that Microsoft adopted for its OS preview releases.

Aul said that Microsoft wasn't trying to be "opaque" about its Windows 10 preview build communications. It's just contemplating other ways of getting it out to Windows Insider testers at this point, including a faster approach that could deliver less stable builds than currently seen.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.